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ERIC Number: ED547022
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 240
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISBN: 978-1-2675-2883-4
The Acquisition of the BA Construction by English-Speaking Learners of Chinese
Xu, Hongying
ProQuest LLC, Ph.D. Dissertation, University of Kansas
This study examined the acquisition of the BA construction by English-speaking learners of Chinese. The BA construction is a unique yet important grammar phenomenon in Chinese. Whether second language (L2) learners of Chinese are able to understand and use this construction correctly and appropriately may affect the overall success of their communication in the target language. Previous studies on the acquisition of the BA construction showed that L2 Chinese learners did better with certain types of BA sentences than with others. However, those studies are mainly descriptive in nature, without fitting themselves into the framework of any existing SLA theory. This study systematically examined L2 Chinese learners' knowledge of various linguistic properties of the BA construction within the framework of the Interface Hypothesis (Sorace, 2005; 2009), comparing the acquisition of core syntactic properties vs. properties at the interfaces of syntax-semantics and syntax-discourse. Specifically, this study examined whether L2 Chinese learners' acquisition of those properties differs in terms of the knowledge that each property requires, comparing core syntax properties with interface properties, as the IH predicts. Fifteen intermediate low and 17 intermediate high English-speaking learners of Chinese and 20 native speakers of Chinese completed three tasks: a grammaticality judgment task, a contextual acceptability preference task, and a paired grammaticality judgment task. Their responses were measured both in accuracy rates and acceptance rates. Repeated measures ANOVAs were conducted to compare the mean acceptance rates each group achieved across the properties and sentence types (grammatical vs. ungrammatical). Repeated measures ANOVAs were also conducted to compare the mean acceptance rates of each property across the groups. The results indicated that the native speakers consistently achieved high accuracy across properties although there was more variance with the syntax-discourse properties. Both L2 groups scored significantly higher with core syntax properties than with the interface properties. The IH was partially supported in this study, since an advantage over the core syntax properties was observed. The observed distinction provides instructional implications for the teaching of the BA construction to students of Chinese a foreign language, e.g. when presenting a construction like BA, a better and more effective way might be to distinguish the properties in terms of the knowledge they call for. Those that call for knowledge from other domains such as semantics or pragmatics other than syntax should be emphasized and more time and effort should be devoted to these properties. In practicing the BA construction, students should be provided with contexts in which this construction will be used appropriately and authentically. [The dissertation citations contained here are published with the permission of ProQuest LLC. Further reproduction is prohibited without permission. Copies of dissertations may be obtained by Telephone (800) 1-800-521-0600. Web page:]
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Publication Type: Dissertations/Theses - Doctoral Dissertations
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A